Volume 130, Issue 4, October 2011
Index of content:
- SPEECH PRODUCTION 
130(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3632091View Description Hide Description
Previous studies of subglottal resonances have reported findings based on relatively few subjects, and the relations between these resonances, subglottal anatomy, and models of subglottal acoustics are not well understood. In this study, accelerometer signals of subglottal acoustics recorded during sustained [a:] vowels of 50 adult native speakers (25 males, 25 females) of American English were analyzed. The study confirms that a simple uniform tube model of subglottal airways, closed at the glottis and open at the inferior end, is appropriate for describing subglottal resonances. The main findings of the study are (1) whereas the walls may be considered rigid in the frequency range of Sg2 and Sg3, they are yielding and resonant in the frequency range of Sg1, with a resulting ∼ 4/3 increase in wave propagationvelocity and, consequently, in the frequency of Sg1; (2) the “acoustic length” of the equivalent uniform tube varies between 18 and 23.5 cm, and is approximately equal to the height of the speaker divided by an empirically determined scaling factor; (3) trachea length can also be predicted by dividing height by another empirically determined scaling factor; and (4) differences between the subglottal resonances of males and females can be accounted for by height-related differences.
130(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3624824View Description Hide Description
This paper investigates the mechanisms controlling the phonemic quantity contrast and speech rate in nonsense p1Np2a words read by five Slovak speakers in normal and fast speech rate. N represents a syllable nucleus, which in Slovak corresponds to long and short vowels and liquid consonants. The movements of the lips and the tongue were recorded with an electromagnetometry system. Together with the acoustic durations of p1, N, and p2, gestural characteristics of three core movements were extracted: p1 lip opening, tongue movement for (N)ucleus, and p2 lip closing. The results show that, although consonantal and vocalic nuclei are predictably different on many kinematicmeasures, their common phonological behavior as syllabic nuclei may be linked to a stable temporal coordination of the consonantal gestures flanking the nucleus. The functional contrast between phonemic duration and speech rate was reflected in the bias in the control mechanisms they employed: the strategies robustly used for signaling phonemic duration, such as the degree of coproduction of the two lip movements, showed a minimal effect of speech rate, while measures greatly affected by speech rate, such as p2 acoustic duration, or the degree of p1-N gestural coproduction, tended to be minimally influenced by phonemic quantity.
130(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3631631View Description Hide Description
Flow through the vocal tract is studied through an in vitro rigid replica for different geometrical configurations and steady flow conditions with bulk Reynolds numbers Re < 15 000. The vocal tract geometry is approximated by two consecutive obstacles, representing “tongue” and “tooth,” in a rectangular channel of fixed length. For the upstream tongue obstacle with fixed constriction degree (81%) the streamwise position is varied and for the downstream obstacle the constriction degree is varied from 0% up to 96%. Different upstream pressures are considered for each geometrical configuration. Point pressure measurements at three fixed locations along the channel are experimentally assessed. In addition, the volume airflow rate is measured. The pressure distribution is estimated with a one-dimensional flowmodel, and the effects of different corrections to a laminar irrotational flow are assessed. The model outcome is validated against experimental data. Depending on the geometrical configuration, the best model accuracy is obtained by accounting for viscosity (needed for constriction degrees at the tooth that are small, i.e.,≤ 58%, or very large, i.e., ≥ 96%), a sudden constriction (large gap between both constrictions), or a bending geometry (narrow gap between both constrictions). Best overall model errors vary between 4% and 30% for all assessed geometrical configurations in cases where a tongue obstacle is present.
Acoustic-phonetic characteristics of speech produced with communicative intent to counter adverse listening conditionsa)130(2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.3623753View Description Hide Description
This study investigated whether speech produced in spontaneous interactions when addressing a talker experiencing actual challenging conditions differs in acoustic-phonetic characteristics from speech produced (a) with communicative intent under more ideal conditions and (b) without communicative intent under imaginary challenging conditions (read, clear speech). It also investigated whether acoustic-phonetic modifications made to counteract the effects of a challenging listening condition are tailored to the condition under which communication occurs. Forty talkers were recorded in pairs while engaged in “spot the difference” picture tasks in good and challenging conditions. In the challenging conditions, one talker heard the other (1) via a three-channel noise vocoder (VOC); (2) with simultaneous babble noise (BABBLE). Read, clear speech showed more extreme changes in median F0, F0 range, and speaking rate than speech produced to counter the effects of a challenging listening condition. In the VOC condition, where F0 and intensity enhancements are unlikely to aid intelligibility, talkers did not change their F0 median and range; mean energy and vowel F1 increased less than in the BABBLE condition. This suggests that speech production is listener-focused, and that talkers modulate their speech according to their interlocutors’ needs, even when not directly experiencing the challenging listening condition.